KARACHI, Jan 6: People in the city faced immense difficulty on Friday, owing to the unannounced closure of different roads for a safe and smooth VVIP movement, mainly President Musharraf.

Patients being rushed in ambulances and private cars to hospital were the most unfortunate sufferers of the president’s movement.

In the emergency section of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), since Friday evening till 9pm, two heart patients were pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Their lives could have been saved if they would not have been stranded in the traffic muddle, said a senior NICVD doctor.

About six months back, there was a proposal to provide access to the NICVD via the office of National Accountability Bureau.

“If only the entry was allowed through the (NAB) offices many more precious lives could have been saved, but they (NAB) say that the movement may compromise their security”, doctors said.

“One wonders how the NAB’s security could be compromised if a heart patient in an ambulance is allowed through their premises”, the NICVD doctors said.

With each passing day, the traffic situation is getting worse and there is an urgent need for an alternative route to the Rafiqui Shaheed Road where the NICVD, National Institute of Child Health, JPMC and the Kidney Centre are located.

A several-hour traffic muddle was witnessed at the Regent Plaza Hotel, Lucky Star, the entire Saddar area and Shaheen Complex. The impact was also felt at the I.I. Chundrigar Road on Friday.

Since Friday morning parking on the service roads of the Sharea Faisal was prohibited and all the openings were closed with iron barriers and chains.

Much of the city’s police strength was utilized to provide security to the president’s motorcade. Due to the security measures, many of the city’s police stations were without adequate police force and the police were unable to entertain hundreds of distress calls received on their Madadgar 15 helpline, the police sources said.

Police carried out their traditional practice to block roads for traffic for several hours rendering motorists and commuters stranded amid cold winds.

The traffic police blocked Sharea Faisal and many link roads.

Some people asked about the reason but the police, deployed there, declined to disclose the actual reason.

The unannounced closure of main roads during business hours created a hotchpotch in Saddar and the traffic was jammed on different roads including I.I. Chundrigar Road, Deen Mohammad Wafai Road, Sarwar Shaheed Road, Zaibunnisa Street, Sharah-i-Iraq, M.T. Khan Road, etc. The traffic police were unable to clear the mess.

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